I stay up too late

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Currently reveling in the freedom of being able to vacuum whenever I damn well please.  Which, tonight was at 10:30pm.  Because I had to wash the floor.  Because Uther has BEEN.  Pretty much everywhere.

I bought him a pool.  I don’t know if it will work, but it was on clearance (Clarence) for $15.  It is one of those plastic wall with an inner liner deals that you fit together with a snappy rim.  I can’t remember if these work at all if you don’t have something in them (like water, not rabbit).  It’s the only one I saw at the store.  If it doesn’t work, I can take it back.  A friend of mine offered to give me one that she’s looking to re-home, but it looks pretty small from the picture she sent.  This one that I bought says it is 8 feet across.  That’s plenty of room for a bun.  And not much room for the rest of the kitchen.  But, hey, less mopping of the floors.  And more cleaning of the pool.

The bun is in the process of passing out.  He’s flopping gently to the side as he falls asleep.  It’s amusing.  Heal thyself, Utherbees.

I’ll set it up tomorrow.  Tonight is for BED.

Where my life feels a little improv’ed

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At the beginning of this week I was feeling a bit overstretched.  I had scheduled 2 events that both involved a lot of planning and preparation.  One of them – my Greek Mythology event – was really under registered, too.  I only had 2 people signed up until Wednesday, whereupon 2 more signed up and the event suddenly went from “I should cancel,” to “let’s make this happen.”  I sometimes leave things until the last minute if it looks like I’m going to have poor attendance, but it’s kind of nerve-wracking to have to throw a lot of energy into an event suddenly.  Greek Mythology was scheduled for Friday, and the other event – my monthly volunteers’ meeting – was on Thursday.

I love and hate the volunteer meetings.  I usually have about 25 young people to supervise during that time.  And although it’s only an hour, finding things for 25 people to do that they can a.) do well, and b.) actually provide some kind of useful service to me/our institution/them (as an experience) is a challenge.  They fill me up and wring me out.  And often I just create more work for myself by letting them help me.  For instance, if I have them pull books that haven’t circulated in awhile, I then have to go through those books and decide whether to keep them in the collection.  There are some who are *so* good at finding things for me that they’ve already filled a cart in the first 20 minutes.  And then it takes me 2 weeks to get through that, what with the other things I have going on.  Last month – our first meeting of the year – was insane.  I had a mixture of new and seasoned volunteers and only one of me to tell/show people what to do.  I think the experience may have scared a few off.  [And as an aside: I feel very ALONE in this endeavor.  I try to get other staff to contribute projects for the teens to work on, but they don't have anything, or don't have time to help train the kids so that they have some chance of success...which means they're sort of set up to do a substandard job (although, to be fair, some of them just aren't that meticulous to begin with), which means staff are reluctant to give them anything to do.  And they fight and insult each other and drive me nuts sometimes, and other times they are SO helpful and wonderful and I'm thrilled to have them.  And I never know what kind of day we're going to have or what kind of kids I'm going to get.  Will it be Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?  And if it's the latter, would you please consider staying home?]

So, 2.  2 Very Big Things this week.

I managed to find a framework for my Greek Mythology event, which was pretty much solidified by Weds. evening.  I bought all the supplies on Thursday, in the hour before I had to go on desk all afternoon.  I put my volunteers to work making fall and Halloween decorations for the hallway, and they were happily busy for an hour creating the most beautiful sugar skulls.  I had one kid churn out about 30 ghosts that looked like they’d been die-cut with the same pattern.  Sort of looks like we have Storm Troopers up and down the hall, but that’s ok.  They were all busy and contained and I was able to talk with people and introduce myself to the new volunteers and give them some idea of what to expect – insanity, but hopefully fun, too, and a chance to meet some new people and hang out with their friends WHILE earning volunteer hours.  Not a bad deal.

Today, I finished the last of my prep work for the GM event while I was on desk, then set up the room and was ready in plenty of time for my – count ‘em – 3 participants.  1 cancelled this morning, or it would have been 4.  But they were all willing participants, which is what makes working with teenagers so much fun.  They play with me.  And they will even embarrass themselves (occasionally) and do silly things – like making paper laurels and putting on sheet togas, and army crawling across the room through Arachne’s web (which I put up and then had to navigate myself – over and over again whenever I remembered Just One More Thing that had to go on that table all the way at the back.  Argh).  And it all worked out.  They had a good time.  *I* had a good time.  They took home all the leftover food AND helped me clean up the whole room (2 of them volunteer with me regularly).  It was a smashing end to the week.

You look sweet. Why don’t you settle down with someone?

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Unsolicited comments/advice from the peanut gallery today…

I was pretty irritated when I read this.  I couldn’t even unpack all the Feelings I had about it, because I couldn’t see through my annoyance, which was large and cloudy and yellow like I imagine sandstorms and Agent Orange to be.  Noxious and prickly and abrasive/poisonous to everyone within a 30 mile radius.  Also it bothers me that the things that fall out of the mouths/keyboards of strangers and into my ears/inbox can make me feel anything at all.

1. I don’t KNOW you.  Who ARE you?  What makes you at ALL qualified to comment on/question me about my status?

2. What are you implying with your so-called question?  There are all kinds of possible assumptions to be made, conclusions to be drawn.  There is something wrong with me that is not immediately obvious because I “look sweet.”  There is something wrong with me because I am So Old.  There is something wrong with being “single.”  People need to settle with other people.

3. Is this supposed to be some kind of backhanded compliment?

4. This is why I should disable my profile.  This is why I should disable my profile.  This is why…

You’d think I’d be a little thicker-skinned after all this time, but no, apparently not.  I also find that I am easily offended by these sorts of exchanges, and it’s likely – if I give this person the benefit of the doubt – that he didn’t intend to *be* offensive.  And maybe I don’t need to get all my feathers ruffled and be so DEfensive…  It’s possibly a sore point.

I am, I decided, single with a VENGEANCE.  When I look at the options and prospects that are available to me I sometimes feel really, super disheartened.  Like, “Men?  Ew.  Women?  Ew.  Human Beings?  Ew.”  They are not exactly rocking my socks in intelligence, conversation, looks, or anything else that would enhance their attractiveness.  I do not want to settle down with any of these people.

But I AM settled.  Or, you know, superficially settled.  I bought a house – it’s a SIGN!  I could sell said house and come unmoored, but I think not yet.  I have only just arrived.  I have settled with RABBITS.  I have settled ON rabbits.  They are very agreeable roommates (even when disabled and incontinent), and they don’t have anything to say about how I live my life (unless it involves trying to snuggle them – DISAPPROVE!).

1. “I don’t know you…”  And I’m not going to WANT to know you if you annoy me.  So, my advice for future messages – should you decide to send them, is as follows: Do NOT start out with “You look sweet.”  Bleh.  I think I’m still a zombie in one of my pictures.  I don’t know how sweet that is.  You should probably refrain from even MENTIONING my appearance.  If you want to be complimentary, try, “You’re so funny!”  Or “You’re so smart!”  (These may or may not be true, but I prefer to be flattered for my intelligence or sense of humor over Beauty or Cuteness.)  I’ll even take, “You’re so PROLIFIC!”  (But if you confuse “your” and “you’re” I’m going to notice.  And I’m going to judge.)  Do NOT then suggest that my status is some kind of red flag.  If you’re contacting me because I’m “single” and you’re looking doesn’t that sort of work in your favor?

Don’t lead with this kind of nonsense at all.  It would be better if you just said something weirdly surprising.

I did finally check out this person’s profile.  Mostly to decide whether it was worth sending any kind of response at all.  And discovered that he was from Australia (which is entirely peopled with criminals).  And decided he might have an interesting accent, which would SURELY make ANYTHING he said to me delightful.  i.e. I should not get so worked up over this.  Also, Australia is like no-chance-in-Hell-land because it’s waaaaaay over there and the likelihood that we are going to ever meet up is in the ballpark of never.  Or, if ever, SWEET!!!  I want to visit Australia.  Can I stay with you, or will you murder me in my sleep?

There’s not much to go on.  Not a blithering idiot, but…  Definitely a blundering man-person from Down Under.  We, perhaps, have Cultural Differences as well as Ideological ones.  But I like my pen pals a bit more verbose.

2. What does “settled” even mean?  Like happy in who you are and where you are and what you’re doing with your life?  If so, that’s me.  Right now.  Today.  This moment.  But that doesn’t stick.  And if you can’t face/handle change, then you’re screwed.  Settled gives you no assurances.  Life continues to happen whether you want it to or not.  Fall into the slipstream!

3. Probably, yes, you didn’t mean anything by this.  Or maybe no.  You like provoking people.  Way to find my buttons.  First try.

4. I can’t and don’t approach online dating as online dating.  I don’t want to date people.  I want to get to know them better before I even consider meeting them or deciding whether or not I am attracted to them.  I would rather not think about this at all right now. Unless, of course, I do…and there’s some kind of immediate connection.  That doesn’t happen all that often.  Well, it doesn’t happen as much when people message ME first.  It’s much more reliable when I’m the one making the selections and writing the first messages.  Remember woos?  Sometimes I am unwooable (oh, it is so sad, like the howling of the lonely puppy).

This is maybe not the best venue/method for finding friends, but I haven’t done so poorly over the years.  It’s just that using dating sites for purposes OTHER than dating/sex/srs relationships/SETTLING DOWN does not compute with a lot of my fellow users.  There are obvious reasons for that.  And sometimes I am more amenable and available than other times, and my Australian messager picked A BAD TIME for that and A BAD VEHICLE for his interest(?).

Yup.  So there’s that all hashed out.  I feel fine.  FINE.  :)

I got a letter from the Secretary of State

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Back in August I noticed that the protective coating on my license plates was starting to peel off (when I renewed my sticker), so I filled out the online form they have for defective license plates.  I’ve actually done this once before and whatever methods they use to produce the *new* plates were supposed to have corrected the problems they had with the old ones.  Mine are just special I guess.  I got a very lengthy email back from someone in the ‘plates department explaining that they’d need some more information from me before they could replace my plates a second time – photos, or it didn’t happen!  So I took some and sent them in and my contact confirmed that the plates were, indeed, DEFECTIVE.  It was one of the better online customer service experiences I’ve had.  I figured that they’d just deny me a replacement because I’d already gotten new plates a few years ago, but someone actually took the time to investigate my situation further.  I’m accustomed to those form letters that one gets from large corporate entities that often fail to address the issue raised at all.  They make me livid.

After just a few email exchanges, I was told they’d be shipping out some new plates in a few weeks, and my correspondent even offered some suggestions for making them last longer – I need to get some plastic coated screws.  He also called me “MR.” Kaysootee a few times, which amused the heck out of me.  And then NOTICED and apologized.  There was even a hint that he had a sense of humor.  These are all things I treasure in my dealings with other people.  So, after I thanked him a bunch for helping me out, I wrote a letter to his supervisor (as near as I could figure out) and commended his prompt and helpful assistance.  Because lately, I feel like there’s not enough appreciation for the people out there who are doing things well, and I want to do my part to correct the imbalance.

TODAY!  I got a letter from the Secretary of State (who is also the State Librarian) thanking me for MY letter and letting me know that he appreciated my comments and that the employee and his boss will LEARN of this, and hopefully they will be celebrated and given raises and all of that.  Ok, the SoS didn’t say ALL of that (no mention of raises), but he did say, “Please note that your kind comments will be brought to the attention of this employee and his Administrator.  In addition, a copy of your letter will be placed in his personnel file.”  Also I should write again “If this Office of the Secretary of State may be of service” to me “in the future…”

I predict that we will soon be exchanging Holiday cards.

Masterchef Junior

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I was doing Uther therapy the other night while watching “The Biggest Loser” on Hulu, and when that episode ended, for some reason it decided to show me the first episode of “Masterchef Junior.”  And since there were still more bunny limbs to manipulate, I shrugged and thought, “Why not?”  I was a wee bit addicted to the original “Masterchef.”  And possibly also “Hell’s Kitchen.”  It might have something to do with Gordon Ramsay.  In case you’re not familiar with the show, they take the “best” chefs (some may be amateurs, some may be professional chefs) and pit them against one another in a variety of situations/challenges and then judge and dismiss/advance them accordingly.  They really value Excellence, so if you fall anywhere near short, Ramsay and his team rip you a new one.  “Emotionally abusive” would not be far off the mark in describing their commentary.  This made me a little bit nervous since the contestants on “Masterchef Junior” are between 9 and 13 years old.  And generally we frown on child abuse.  But wow.  The kids are very impressive for the most part (although, many of them fell apart when they had to bake and frost a layer cake in 90 minutes) and the kind of dishes they come up with and prepare…they are things even those professionals wouldn’t think of.  There’s this enthusiasm and excitement running through every episode – we’re all dying to know what those kids will come up with next and how they’ll overcome the obstacles (triumphantly in most cases) the judges set before them.  And the professionals are honestly amazed by these young people.  I can’t stop smiling.  It makes me so happy.  And Gordon and his crew are KIND, and ENCOURAGING.  They put the kids through some stressful situations, but they also offer praise and constructive criticism both, when warranted.

In the episode I watched tonight, they cooked in an actual restaurant.  They were split into 2 teams and each team had to learn how to prepare 2 different appetizers and 2 different main courses.  Together they served about 50 people.  They were required to prepare orders as they were received (so they couldn’t just cook a bunch of each dish and stockpile them) and had to figure out their team dynamics – difficult for a lot of them.  When they brought the kids out to meet the restaurant patrons at the end of the competition, the diners could not believe that they’d been eating this food cooked by these young people.  Some of them openly wept (I got something in my eye).

I rather wish this was the strategy they used with the adults, too.  I never watched the original show for the judges’ verbal onslaught – it was more because I was fascinated by the cooking itself and the creativity of the competitors.  Well done!

Seeing Sparklies!

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Whoa.  Little lights everywhere, swimming in my vision.  I must have…sat down too fast?  That’s the only thing I just did.  Hm.  I don’t think that’s a Thing.  So, maybe I’m about to have the second migraine of my life!  This would not be a cause to celebrate.  This week is too much.  Next week is also too much.  There may be a brief reprieve the following week, but I should check my calendar, because I could be mistaken.  I *should* have gone to ILA.  It wouldn’t have made any of this less (it would have, in fact, been one more thing), but it would have been something different.  But, there wasn’t anything really exciting to attend and I was still getting over the memories of my last Traffic Experience.  All of August and most of September was a Traffic Experience.  Every road is either under construction or impassable because of accidents and every place is at least an hour away, and I find myself just screaming and screaming because I can’t get where I want/need to be.  Uther can document this behavior.  I finally had to tell myself to calm the heck down because I was probably stressing the bun out with my furious impatience and frustration.  Several of these trips were on his behalf.

Yes, headache.  I see you.  Go away now.

I think I’m finally recovered from my century ride.  I was weary pretty much all last week.  And I’ve been napping every chance I get.  This makes for unrestful dreams during my normal sleep time.  I yell a lot at dream people and solve problems that I don’t have in real life.  I wake up – still tired, but also relieved that these things aren’t real.  Maybe they’re real enough, though?  If they’re affecting my REST.

Today: 30 miles on the bike before work.  Some rain the last 2 miles, but not a soaking rain – rather, a dusting.  As I was pulling out of the parking lot by the Long Prairie Trail, the Prius woman was hauling her bike down from the rack on the back of her car.  I often run into her at the trailhead at this time.  I smiled and waved, because by now we recognize each other.  She returned my greetings and headed out.  I don’t know how far she goes, but some day I will ask her.

Last night: I took a walk through my neighborhood.  I was tired before I really got anywhere.  And there was more traffic than I like on my walks (not peaceful).  I wanted to get into the older part of town, or maybe downtown, or the library, but those things were further away.  With more daylight and energy or possibly on a bike they are obtainable.

I might have an illness

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I was headed out to tackle some more of my untamed garden (the strawberries are strong with this one), and as I passed through my garage, I looked up at Surly bike on the bike tree and thought, “Maybe I should go for a bike ride.”  Which was quickly followed up with, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”  I dug up a bunch of things instead.